Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Napa Race Report

Well, the short version is, I wasn't happy with how the race went.  Here is the long version on the weekend.

My arms actually look buff in this picture!!
Pete and I arrived in the late afternoon and went to pick up my number and goody bag.  The bag was a pretty nice backpack filled with more samples than I have seen from previous races.  There was a sample of something called Skin Sake (to prevent chafing) which I even used in the race and liked better than the stuff I have been using.  So far so good!  We checked into our room after that (a nice bed and breakfast called Bel Abri) and got ready for dinner.

We had dinner reservations at a nice place called Hurley's in Yountville.  It was just down the street from the famous French Laundry, so Chris and I hopped out for a picture.

Dinner was great.  We met up with Chris and Marc, my running friends, and Marc's wife Cheryl.  I consider these guys my friends after many hours of running together.  It was fun to see them in non running clothes and chat over good food.  Who took the picture?  My mom!  She and her husband came up for wine tasting and to see me in the race.  They happened to have a table right next to us.
A surprise early birthday celebration!

The morning was a bit too chaotic for my tastes.  I had a crappy cup of in room coffee which did not have nearly the caffeine I am used to (next time I have to get to a Starbucks first). The shuttle ride from Napa to the start in Calistoga was not very well organized and dropped us off close to the start time with barely enough time to get to the bathroom and drop off our bag.  While I don't like waiting around for an hour, I would have liked more time to compose myself.

The race started and less than a mile into it I realized I had committed a cardinal rule of racing--never wear/do anything on race day that you haven't done before!! I usually wear my phone in an arm sleeve.  It is great and comfortable, but the phone can not be taken in and out easily.  I thought it would be nice to have easier access to take pictures, so on my last 3 mile taper one I tried carrying it in the pocket of my running skirt--not the one I was going to wear, but it was the same size/style which I figured was good enough.  I was wrong.  The weight of my phone was pulling my skirt off me and I had to constantly pull my skirt up which was very annoying and distracting.  Finally at mile 10 I had had it, and stuck the phone in my bra. It was reasonably comfortable there, but I worried about the moisture.  By that point though I didn't care!

 The course itself was beautiful, along the Silverado trail with vineyard after vineyard to look at.  The course was rolling hills, a bit hillier than I was anticipating, but not bad overall.

 Despite using the restroom at the start, I had to go again a few miles into the race (that doesn't usually happen to me, but it does on occasion).  There was some bathrooms coming up, but there was a couple of people in line and I didn't want to wait, so I kept going.  A few miles later, next set of bathrooms, and another line.  I kept going.  Then I was getting desperate.  I had to go.  The next set of port-a-potties, just past mile 9, came up and had an even worse line.  I wanted to cry.  I knew I couldn't wait until the next set so I had to stop.  For a full 5 minutes I had to wait.  I came running out, pretty fast, trying to make up for the lost time.  Which was stupid.  There really isn't any way to do that.

I never felt like I was in my running groove. Some days it is there, some days it isn't. My legs felt tired and heavy.  I started to tank around mile 18 I think, then really bad after mile 20.  My stomach wasn't terrible, but didn't feel as good as it had on training runs.  The last few miles was an ugly run, walk, run (although there was some delicious sorbet at mile 23!).

I did finish, in my second to slowest time ever, 4 hr 18 min (4 hr 13 min if you subtract for the damn bathroom line!)

And the whole issue with my phone?  I didn't even take a single picture.  The beautiful vineyards above were taken by my friend Chris.

The finish, just before I started crying

My training wasn't what I wanted because of illness and injury and I went in to this race saying out loud that I was just going to run for fun and not worry about the time.  I was lying.  Deep down, I really thought I could hit my 4 hour mark.  My last long run was a great pace, I really felt like I should have been able to.

So what happened?  Who knows.  I needed more caffeine.  My legs felt tired. We had gone skiing 2 weeks before the race so I really only had 1 week of rest/taper.  I don't regret that though, that was our family vacation.  I may have gone out too fast--I was sub 9 (barely) for the first 10 miles or so.  I have to check my mile splits on my long runs, but I do think I went out much slower for those, than picked it up.  The weather was a bit warm for me, in the mid to upper 60's with the sun beating down at times. The phone/skirt falling down issue was distracting.  But when all is said and done, I was having a bad run day, simple as that.

But I am stubborn and competitive.  I am not done. I signed up for the California International Marathon in December.  A long ways off, but after doing 3 marathons in 13 months I need a mental and probably physical break from the stress of a training schedule.  I need to go back to running just for the sake of the run.  I know I can do a 4 hour marathon and I will do it eventually.

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

I love your candid report.

I'm sorry there were so many challenges to face in this race. Even with all of those things, you still finished with a very respectable time. I can say that because you know I haven't broken a five hour marathon...yet.

Your four hour 26.2 will come. I'm sure of it!